For women with disability, life is more of a challenge

"I hail from a village in Haryana where girl children were not sent to school," Nupur says. "In that situation, being a visually challenged was like a double handicapped. Fortunately for me, my parents were supporting my cause and had taken me out of the village to educate me. Without that kind of support, I probably would have remained illiterate and backward in Haryana," says Nupur, a recipient of national award for being a role model for disabled persons.

While finding opportunity, albeit with a great deal of support, may be possible for those like Nupur, situation for those with intellectual challenge is more complex.

"They cannot defend themselves against sexual 'predators' and their parents often live with the question - what would happen after us?” says D M Naidu, Secretary, Basic Needs India, an NGO that works on community   mental health and development.
He says rapes and sexual abuses remain a potent threat despite organisational support for many of them.

National Confederation of Parents Association for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disability President J P Gadkari admits that major concerns regarding intellectually disabled women exist despite widespread efforts.

"As an organisation, we give shelter to the intellectually disabled persons - including girls and women - and ensure they are given certain level of training in works like stitching and tailoring. But we need to ensure women with such disabilities are protected by communities and families rather than homes," Gadkari says.

While disabled women in urban areas at least claim a measure of financial empowerment, issues such as lack of entitlement to properties remains to be addressed.

 "This still remains an unsolved issue before our law," says Muthamma B Devaya, a city-based disability rights activist.

"However, with UN Convention for Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), which talks about attitudinal discrimination, we hope things would become better in the coming years."

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